Carving out some pumpkin fun.

By Isabel Hochman

What makes a pumpkin patch in our region stand out? Besides a top-five ranking by USA Today? Kelder’s Farm is a 200-year-old farm located in Kerhonkson, NY. Owner Chris Kelder says having a close-knit family, being blessed with good soil and creating new experiences for families have all contributed to the success of the farm. The senior Kelder runs the farm with his wife and son, John, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that on any given weekend, John ’s kids, sister, brother-in-law, nieces, and nephews are all helping with the farm.

“It’s really gratifying to see my father, who’s in his 80s, still doing a lot of field work,” John says. “He loves that. It’s a family affair. We have some great key staff that helped us a lot; but at its core, it’s a family business.”

Does running a business with family entanglements ever get to be too much? “We all respect each other’s space,” John says. “I think as a family business it certainly brings a different dynamic because you may work with your coworkers all week, but you don’t have to sit at the Thanksgiving table and smile. It’s not easy all the time either. But it’s a blessing that we do have so many people involved and enjoying the farm.”

Kelder grows the pumpkins on about 15 acres of the farm, which he says has very good soil they can irrigate, allowing them to take good care of the pumpkins. “We work very hard on growing really healthy pumpkins, and we hope that everybody can find their special one.” During high season, the farm offers pumpkin painting and decorating. John offers a pro-tip for anyone looking to carve one: “We recommend that you don’t carve until you’re very close to when you want to display your pumpkin because once carved, it has a very short shelf life.”

But when stopping halfway there with your family, stay for Kelder’s Farm’s top-notch agrotourism activities, from the corn maze to the petting zoo, hayrides, milk-a-cow, mini-golf, cannons, vegetable picking, fishing and so much more. And after all that family fun, you’re sure to want to partake in Kelder’s Farm’s delicious apple cider donuts, burgers and assorted pizzas.

“When people come, there’s a lot to do and we hope that they have a great experience,” John Kelder says. “The fact that so many visitors voted for us must mean something.”

We’re pretty sure it does indeed.

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